The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I have a bit of a weakness when it comes to tech/hacker stories. I absolutely love Person of Interest and sometimes I wish my computer skills (and my patience level) would be bad ass enough to go underground and pull down sites to make a point or uncovering secure info from a super secret government  

* kidding of course...  well sort off * 

 I had previously been fooled when I picked up Cipher, expecting a hacker heroin only to be faced with nill action and a case of bad instalove romance.

So when I read the summary of The Silence of Six I was immediately intrigued. Could it be? A book which might actually make true on the promise of hacker action, a believable conspiracy, skirting the edge of today's issues faced regarding transparency and privacy as well as deliver on credibility but keeping it interesting enough to not put you to sleep?

I think The Silence of Six  is the perfect mix of all of the above. 

 The book starts with Max who is attending an election conference in his auditorium when through the questions a video comes through of a vigilante asking a chilling question 'What is the Silence of Six and what are you going to do about it'  then committing suicide at the end. During the conference Max uncovers it is actually his best friend Evan in the video, whom he has neglected the last year in an effort to distance himself from the hacker underworld and its activities they both where dabbling in. And then the stream is prevented from leaking out.

Dramatis Personai passed itself off as a machine mind, an artificial intelligence with a snarky teenage personality, but it was definitely a group of talented geeks. Geeks just like Evan.

Sensing there is more to this then his friend having gone of the deep end, Max decides to investigate and comes across a bread crumb trail leading him to the one person Evan has entrusted him to help uncover the truth, Penny

 Whatever those guys wanted him for, he was now definitely a criminal. He'd just taken some innocent guy's laptop. And his pen.

Both Max and Penny are great characters. Max is a quick thinker and has awesome hacking skills but he also has flaws and insecurities he can admit to making him very easy to identify with. Penny on the other hand is a little paranoid but it's in order to protect her family, which I found admirable. Even if it meant her playing the hard ass.

"Why is it a surprise that I'm a girl? Did I seem particularly masculine online?" "No, but... you didn't seem particularly feminine," Max said. "What does that even mean?" He massaged the corners of his eyes. "I don't know. Forget it." "You didn't seem particularly sexist online, but here we are."

The effort put into the writing and the trust developing between the two main characters can easily be spotted. It is realistic, has some truly funny moments and even though the story is certainly fast paced, it does give you the necessary background info to not get lost. Pieces start falling into place just egging you on to read more.
"Maybe you hit Delete by accident?" Penny asked. "I'm going to pretend you didn't just suggest that," Max said.

He arranged the sequence in different patterns, sorting them by length, built intricate matrices until it resembled a cracked-out game of Scrabble.
If I had to give any critique, it would be that the ending was not the massive bang I was kind of hoping for and that there are no sequels (yet). It leaves a slim window open and I am hoping the author will decide to delve into this in the future.

There is however a prequel called S.O.S. (a smart reference to Silence of Six), which tells the story of Evan in the short days before his hack into the election conference. It's a great way to get deeper into the motivation behind Eva's actions and enjoy more of E.C. Myers's work.

Would I recommend it?
Hell yeah! Finally a book I can gush and recommend to the wider populace, in fact I managed to get my male colleague to pick it up already ;) 

For anyone that likes fast paced action, computers, conspiracy and other nerdy stuff!

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